Should the Bears keep Peanut? Asked by – Donald Johnson
It’s been the question on my mind ever since Jay Cutler was signed. Out of every free agent on the Bears roster, Tillman is the one player I would love to remain in a Chicago uniform. There are few things that Bears general manager Phil Emery needs to consider when looking at Charles Tillman. Unfortunately age is the top dog in this discussion. Tillman is going to be 33 years old and had a host of injuries in 2013. Pairing two corners at 30 years of age could be risky, and it will ultimately depend on price. I think a two to three year deal is what the Bears should offer. Lovie being hired in Tampa could mean he ends up there. Pairing Darrelle Revis and Tillman would be a great secondary, but so would Tim Jennings and Tillman. Together those two formed a great tandem in 2012, I think they understand each other and really compliment well. Jennings is a ball hawk, and Tillman will knock the ball out a handful of times a year, and still get his interceptions.
He is one of the few corners that can shut down the leagues best receiver in Calvin Johnson. If Emery can get Tillman back in Chicago for a few more years before he retires then that will really go a long way in securing the defense next year. All this adds up to flexibility in the draft. You want to groom draft picks and I can’t think of a better guy to help in that process than Tillman. Let him retire a Bear, and train the next guy up, teach him the finer points of the game, and learn how punch that ball out of the receiver’s hands. If Tillman isn’t around next year then the draft is a bit more difficult, and Emery needs to decide on what’s most important (hint: it’s not the secondary). Even if he can’t find the guy this year, you can get a backup quality guy in later rounds and refocus on that position in the 2015 draft and focus on the anemic pass rush in 2014. Upgrading the front four (or three) will immediately help the secondary and the safety play that hurt the Bears so much this season. So to answer bluntly, yes I think you try your hardest to keep Tillman, he is a stand up guy, works as hard as anyone on the team, and is a great intelligent corner.
What do we expect to see from Zimmer’s Vikings and Caldwell’s Lions? How do these new offenses and defenses match up against the Bears? – Asked by – Nadeem K
I don’t think the Mike Zimmer hire was a particularly good one. When you have a guy like Adrian Peterson you want to build an offense, Zimmer is a defensive minded coach. Minnesota’s offense is painful to watch, poor quarterback play and poor receivers means no one is there to take pressure off of Adrian Peterson. What the Vikings really needed was a coach that could develop a passer, who could groom a draft pick and begin to build an offense around Adrian Peterson. For Zimmer, his success will directly relate to his offensive coordinator. Zimmer addressed that concern quickly by bringing in Norv Turner. These two could be a great pairing. Its not as if the Vikings were great defensively (why the Zimmer hire makes sense). If Norv Turner can get the Vikings rolling on offense and develop quarterback from this years draft, and Zimmer can get the defense to a respectable position, the NFC North will only become more challenging for the Bears. Its harder to nail down what will happen with the Vikings because of Zimmer’s lack of head coach experience.
I like the Jim Caldwell hire for the Lions (not as a Bears Fan). Caldwell has been to two Super Bowls, one with the Colts and one with the Ravens. He has head coaching experience, was with Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco, and is an offensive mind that could benefit Mathew Stafford. Out of all the available jobs in the NFL, the Lions are probably the best team to inherit. If he can bring some of that magic he had from the Indy and Manning era, Stafford should be ecstatic for the hire. However some concerning pieces of information to chew on; Caldwell is 26-63 as a head coach (college), 2-14 without Manning (who really runs his own offense), including 29th in total yards and 25th in scoring in his first full season with the Ravens (a team that just won the Super Bowl). Its important to note that Flacco is no Peyton Manning, Ray Rice had a really poor season, and Anquan Boldin went to the 49ers. In reality its hard to say how this hire will work out, but the stat that really makes me question the hire is the 2-14 record without Manning.
Peyton is a different breed of quarterback and even though his backup was Curtis Painter, that’s a big fall off for losing one guy. To me that screams red flag. I honestly don’t know what to think about this one, simply because there is conflicting information about this guys success. In comparison to the Bears, this is his first year with the team and although some first year coaches have had some success (Trestman, Kelly) Caldwell is getting a team that consistently shows a lack of discipline. That’s where the question becomes was he successful because of Manning or was Manning successful because he is – Peyton Manning. I still firmly believe even with the coaching change and Calvin Johnson, the Bears are a more powerful offense than Detroit.
The Bears have 20+ free agents. Who stays, who goes, and/or who deserves to compete for a roster spot? Asked by – Mayra Camden
After signing Cutler, the Bears took care of what was the most important signing they had on the docket, and I personally believe they made the best move for the organization going forward. So I’ll start with who is staying this year. Corey Wootton played well and showed great versatility (Emery’s favorite word) when injuries forced him inside to defensive tackle. Corey showed an unselfishness in a contract year switching to a position that was unfamiliar. Josh McCown played stellar football and deserves a contract, but is likely to get more offers. The Bears will at least make a run at him, McCown showed the ability to come in and play hard, smart football. Roberto Garza needs to be retained since the Bears don’t really have another option at the moment, he anchored the Bears line and still has two years left in him, giving time to draft a young developmental center. Jeremiah Ratliff is more proven than Melton, however I’m not sure what he is looking for in terms of pay, but I figure make him an offer. Above I made my case for Tillman and I stand by it, bring back “Peanut”(Charles Tillman).
Zachary Bowman played well as a backup and does a good job on special teams. Eben Britton is a solid backup and should have an offer coming his way. Guys who I am definitely letting walk are as follows. Devin Hester, his time on the Bears has come to an end. He had a great year, but not $1.2 million against the cap great. Only one return touchdown is not enough to justify a roster spot. Kelvin Hayden can go because Isaiah Frey played well and earned his spot. D.J. WIlliams when healthy played well and I think he comes back, which makes Anderson an outlier and he likely won’t be back. The only person I think is competing for a roster spot is Chris Conte (I said it multiple times bad pass rush will expose your safeties). Below is a list to elaborate my stance on each player. One player I cannot decide on is Henry Melton, he seems money motivated and to me that speaks volume, after an injury and past inconsistencies he will not make as much as he wants.
[Stays: McCown, Garza, Britton, Castonzo, Ratliff, Williams, Melton (could go either way), Wootton, Tillman, McManis, Mannelly (talking about retiring)]
[On the way out: Hester, Steltz, Wright, Martin, Hayden, Anderson, Cohen, Melton, Collins, Rosario, Scott, Palmer]